So I’ve moved countries…again. If you’re new here, I grew up in the sunny state of California, but at 18 I left home for Vancouver, Canada, where I went to university. I spent my third year abroad in Oslo, Norway, and that’s when I really spent time on this blog. I went back to Vancouver for my last year, and now I’m in none other than South Korea, where I’m currently working as a guest English teacher. Life is wild.
When you move countries as much as I have, you learn to be easy-going, even when it goes against your nature. Luckily for me, I’m a fairly easy-going person by nature, but it isn’t always my first instinct. I’m scared of pretty much everything. I’m scared of making mistakes, of offending people, of looking like an idiot. And when you move to not only a new country but an entirely new culture, all of those instances are in abundance. It’s a struggle some days to want to leave my room, but I didn’t move house so many times just to stay inside.
Here comes in my “yes I can” policy. Yes, I can find my way to school. Yes, I can eat spicy food. Yes, I can go to that dinner you told me about two hours in advance. It’s not an issue. We won’t be having any issues here. When you’re naturally scared of everything and simultaneously say yes to everything, you learn a lot about yourself: that you can figure out transit anywhere; that language barriers aren’t so hindering when there are lots of hand gestures; and that you really are too reliant on technology (but you don’t need your phone ALL the time).
Even if you aren’t moving locations often, I think the “yes I can” policy is the best way to see what you’re really capable of. Yes, I can come up with that presentation for you. Yes, I can do that run with you. Yes, I can learn another language. Often times we become rather complacent in having routines to follow, routines in which we feel comfortable. While being comfortable is, well, comforting, it’s also usually a quite stagnant way of life, and with stagnancy comes a lack of growth.
Not only growth, but benevolence is a benefit of the “yes I can” policy. Yes, I can help you move that. Yes, I can help you pay for that. In Korea, society is about doing things together. Meals are shared, and family units are organized in such a way that the children obey and help the elders and in return receive love and support. You work together, you help each other. By saying yes to more things, you’re agreeing to try not only for the sake of your own personal growth, but in order to help other people. If you’re making a presentation, someone else doesn’t have to. If you’re going on a run with someone, maybe they’re more motivated to accomplish their goals. If you’re learning another language, you’re helping break down language barriers that frustrate others.
So yes, yes I can do those things, and more. Whatever you need. I will most likely be exhausted, but that’s okay, because it’s worth it to help you and myself.
When you move somewhere new, it changes you. The US gave me my foundation, Canada gave me my confidence, and Norway gave me my personal insight. Maybe Korea will make me more considerate, or braver, or both, or something I haven’t learned to expect at all. We’ll just have to wait and see. x.